This week I’ve been reading ‘The Human Stain’ by Philip Roth which has taken me a fair amount of time to read and also a fair amount of time to absorb its impact. I don’t know if it was the long-winded sentences and paragraphs or just the sheer intensity of the writing, but I really had to concentrate and couldn’t have any distractions in the background while reading the book which I found was impossible to read on public transport. The story of Coleman Silk, a retired Classics professor, who has lived his life as a non-religious Jew but is in fact a Negro would probably come across as faintly ridiculous at best in the hands of any other author but Roth manages to sustain the powerful and compelling narrative with incredible control. Although I sometimes found Roth’s prose a little too sprawling, ‘The Human Stain’ is still a more rounded work than ‘American Pastoral’ and would have lost none of its power with a little more editing as the tone of rage would still positively radiate from the page. It is a beautifully angry story: certainly not an easy novel to read but it is still guaranteed to stay with you for some time.